Saturday, May 4, 2013

Evolution's Five Fundamental Assumptions--Are They Scientific or Philosophical? Part One

When the late Carl Sagan voiced his now famous dictum on the Cosmos television program, “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be,” was he making a scientific statement (empirical, observational, and testable), or was he making a philosophical statement about science? That’s the topic of this and my next six or seven blogs.

My argument is this. There are five foundational assumptions of naturalistic evolution, and the entire fabric of the theory (which evolutionists tout as fact) depends on their veracity. In this study, I’m not concerned about theological issues or the age of the earth. Rather, I’m looking at the issue strictly from a scientific viewpoint. These five evolutionary assumptions are: (1) something (i.e. the universe) came from nothing, (2) order evolved from disorder, (3) life emerged from non-life, (4) complex life evolved from an ancestral single-celled organism, and (5) transitional fossils demonstrate the “fact” of evolution. If any one of these five assumption is fallacious, evolution as a valid scientific paradigm crumbles. This blog will explore the first assumption.

Assumption One:  Something Came from Nothing *

Until Big Bang Cosmology became the prevailing view for the origin of the universe within the scientific community, evolutionists assumed that the universe was eternal. This view made a complete about face several decades ago when the so-called big bang confirmed that the universe had a “beginning.” Scientists now believe the universe is finite, and that prior to the big band there was no space, time, matter, or energy. Nothing existed.

Although this view is not far from a creation model of origins, advocates for creation by design believe that something did exist prior to the big bang—God. So the issue is not so much whether the big bang occurred—but how it occurred.  (And for some creationists, when it occurred.) In other words, “who lit the fuse?” Where did the matter, energy, and laws of physics originate that initiated the big bang? The fact is there are no known laws of physics that explain how matter or energy could have arisen spontaneously out of nothing. Physics has only proven that out of nothing comes nothing. This is in perfect agreement with the biblical model of origins. The Bible reveals that God spoke the cosmos into existence out of nothing (See Ps. 33:6; Heb.11:3).

As to be expected, naturalistic evolutionists have suggested several possible explanations for how something can come from nothing. Many contend that some unknown law of physics could explain how something can come from nothing (an obvious argument from silence). Others claim that quantum physics allow for uncaused events to occur at a subatomic level; matter could suddenly materializing spontaneously out of vacuum fluctuations. The problem here, as philosopher William Lane Crag  explained (who has written and debated extensively on cosmological issues), is that a quantum vacuum is not a total vacuum, as most people imagine it. Rather “it’s a sea of fluctuating energy, an arena of violent activity that has a rich physical structure and can be described by physical laws.”

And then there is the imaginary, metaphysical speculations of secular astrophysicists and cosmologists, which move the debate far beyond known laws of physics. The “multiple-universe” (or “multiverse”) theory, for example, imagines an unending series of universes being generated by an unending number of big bangs. The idea is that sooner or later a universe would have popped into existence by mere chance that was “finely tuned for life.”  Our universe just happens to be it! Of course this is merely wild-eyed speculation. There is not a shred of scientific evidence to suggest the existence of other universes. It is unobservable and unprovable—more science fiction than science. Furthermore, the multiple-universe scenario only pushes the problem back a notch. Who made the laws of physics, matter, and energy that allowed the universe-generating machine to come into existence in the first place?

The answer could only be a creating agent that exists apart from, transcends, the universe. Only a self-existing intelligent Designer, one with will and intent (thus a personal Being), could account for a universe that came into existence out of nothing. A creation model of origins is consistent with the known laws of physics, in particular the First and Second Laws of thermodynamics, as well as big bang cosmology. Together, they confirm that the universe had a beginning and, since no effect can be greater than its cause, what caused the universe to be is transcendent, eternal, personal, and vastly more powerful than the universe itself.  This describes the theistic God of Scripture. ©

I hope you found this blog article helpful, and I always enjoy comments. My next blog will explain why evolution’s second fundamental assumption—“order evolved from disorder”—is likewise a philosophical statement about science, not a scientific statement of fact.
 Dan Story

*  This and the other blog articles in this series are copyrighted material and cannot be reproduced electronically or in print. However, please feel free to link these blog articles to your own website, blog, or Facebook. If you would like to explore these issues further, see my book The Christian Combat Manual (AMG Publishers).


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  2. Dear Dan,

    Thanks for this--it's a very useful analysis.

    Trust that you are aware of our annual Apologetics Academy in Strasbourg ( We would much appreciate your spreading the word about it and encouraging attendance at the July, 2014, session:

    We are limited to 20 participants each summer and therefore we always recommend early registration.


    JWM [John Warwick Montgomery]